West Bank

The Remains of Hundreds of Palestinians found in Tel Aviv

Six mass graves features the remains of dozens of Palestinians killed during the Israeli-Arab war of 1948, when the Jewish state was founded have been uncovered in the Jaffa district of Tel Aviv.

An official at the Muslim cemetery there told AFP that the grisly find happened on Wednesday when ground subsided as builders carried out renovation work.

In 1948 Jaffa was a Palestinian town but there was an exodus of most of its Arab population when it fell to the fledgling Israeli army and right-wing Jewish militias.

Researcher and historian Mahmoud Obeid, a Jaffa resident, told As-Safri newspaper: ‘We discovered six mass graves, two of which we dug up. Our estimate is that they contain around 200 bodies, with an unknown additional number in the other graves.

‘The remains belong to people of different ages, including women, children and the elderly, some of which bear signs of violence.’

A local fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, said that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948 he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa.

They were then brought for a quick burial in the cemetery, the area’s main graveyard.

‘I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months,’ he told AFP. ‘We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn’t know who they were.’

He said that the danger of being hit by flying bullets or grenade fragments was such that bodies were dumped one on top of the other in existing family crypts in the cemetery, contrary to Muslim custom.

‘We carried them early in the morning or in the night. We put women, children and men in the same place… nobody prayed for these people.

In 1950 Jaffa was incorporated into Tel Aviv, and was renamed Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It now a mixed Arab and Jewish population.

Around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the Israeli-Arab war of 1948.

 

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334205/Mass-grave-uncovered-containing-dozens-Palestinians-killed-1948-war-founded-Israel.html

Image Source: Same as source

Rightist Extremists Torch Revered Christian Site in Northern Israel

From the Communist Party of Israel

An arson attack caused extensive damage to the interior and exterior of the Church of Loaves and Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel on Thursday, June 18. The church, which Christians believe is where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, is situated on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and is a traditional site of Christian pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Father Matthias Karl, a German monk from the church, said a souvenir shop, an office for pilgrims and a meeting room were badly damaged, and bibles and prayer books were destroyed in the fire. “It’s totally destroyed. The fire was very active,” he told journalists.

Firefighting crews successfully extinguished the blaze and two people who were in the building suffered minor smoke inhalation. No significant damage was caused to the church itself, as the fire raged mainly on the roof. A verse from a Jewish prayer denouncing the worship of “false gods” was spray-painted in red on a church wall, suggesting that Jewish extreme-right extremists were responsible. The Hebrew graffiti was found, reading, “The false gods will be eliminated” — a quote from the Aleinu prayer.

In a statement released by the leader of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) strongly condemned the arson of the historic Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, saying: “This deplorable act is not an isolated incident; it is part of a prevalent culture of hate, and an expression of an ongoing pattern of extremism, violence and impunity from the right-wing government of Israel.”

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Rachel Corrie’s Family Denied Justice From Israel’s Highest Court

From Common Dreams

The family of Rachel Corrie—the 23-year-old U.S. activist crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while nonviolently protesting a home demolition in Palestine 12 years ago—was denied justice by Israel’s top court on Thursday.

The rejection is the latest stage in the family’s decade-long legal battle to hold Israel liable for Corrie’s death, on charges that the military either killed her deliberately or was negligent.

Corrie, who hailed from Olympia, Washington, had been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement for two months in Gaza when she was run over and killed by Israeli forces near the Rafah crossing in 2003. Her death sparked international outrage at Israeli human rights abuses, as well as accolades for Corrie’s life and legacy.

Since her killing, Corrie’s parents—Cindy and Craig—have continued their daughter’s work for global justice.

However, they have so far not seen justice in Israel’s courts.

Corrie’s family first filed a wrongful death civil suit in 2005. In 2012, Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa district court sided with the military and charged that Corrie was responsible for her own death. “She did not move away as any reasonable person would have done,” ruled Gershon. “But she chose to endanger herself.”

This dismissal garnered widespread condemnation, including from U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who slammed the probe into the killing of Corrie as unsatisfactory.

On Thursday, Israel’s supreme court rejected the Corrie family’s appeal of the 2012 ruling.

“Our family is disappointed but not surprised,” the Corrie family said in a statement released on Thursday. “Nevertheless, it is clear that this decision, affirming the August 2012 lower court finding, amounts to judicial sanction of immunity for Israeli military forces when they commit injustices and human rights violations.”

“Rachel’s case provides yet another example of how the Israeli justice system is failing to provide accountability,” the statement continues. “We urge the international community, and not least the U.S. government, to stand with victims of human rights violations and against impunity, and to uphold fundamental tenets of international justice.”

The court has determined, however, that a separate case filed by Corrie’s family, which charges that her remains and autopsy were mishandled, may proceed through a lower court.

Israel Issues Demolition Orders for Palestinian Homes in East Jerusalem

From CPI

On Monday, December 22, Israeli authorities issued five demolition orders for Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. One of the recipients of such an order, Akram al-Shurafa, told the Ma’an news agency that his home in al-Tur, built in 1938 and inherited from his grandparents, has been slated for demolition, despite the fact that the property has all the required legal documents and is registered in his mother’s name.

The other most recent recipients of demolition orders include Talal al-Sayyad and Basil al-Sayyad, even though neither of them owns any properties. Another man, Abdullah al-Hadera, received a demolition order for his al-Tur home, which was built over 50 years ago. Nadia al-Moghrabi, who was recently detained by Israeli authorities together with her daughter, similarly received a demolition order for her home in al-Tur.

Just last Wednesday, December 17, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality issued demolition orders for 11 other homes, all located in the Silwan neighborhood just south of the Old City, some built as long as 30 years ago; the offense – “building without a permit.” Yet Israel, as part of its ongoing, diversified, and relentless policy of displacing Palestinians in the areas under its control, rarely grants construction permits to Arab residents of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and regularly demolishes any structure built without a permit. According to the ICAHD – the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions – so far, in 2014 alone, Israeli bulldozers and other heavy equipment (see photograph, above) have demolished at least 359 Palestinian structures in the West Bank.